David Piccioni

2010 marks Azuli Records’ 10th edition of its Miami album series as the label continues to predict the big tunes to come out of the Winter Music Conference. It’s a double celebration for Azuli as 2010 also marks 20 years since the label’s first release back in 1990. Here, label founder David Piccioni talks about his methods behind finding the big tunes, a funny tale of mistaken identity, and why he’s still kicking himself over Spiller’s ‘Groove Jet’…
‘Azuli presents Miami 2010’ is the 10th album in the long running compilation series – well done for making it so far!  


Obviously, ‘Azuli presents Miami’ is a huge nod towards all the biggies, but which one track has got your personal tip to go big this year?

Well, Deamau5 is still on a roll so I would have to say ‘Strobe’ as it sounds like a biggie.

How has the ways in which you source the records and compile the albums changed over the years?

The main change has got to be that there are so many bloody tracks around now! There’s probably about 10 times as many tracks around as when we started doing the album 10 years ago, which makes compiling them trickier.

How far ahead of Conference do you start looking for tracks for the album and how do you know what to look for?

I start in December and now look for the current movements in the styles of dance music and check which tracks represent that musical strain well. Also, the track has to have longevity; some tracks sound good, but you know they will be forgotten in about 2 minutes.

You’ve previously said that it’s not about tracks that are ‘big’, rather the musical styles. What styles will be coming through in Miami?

Lots of funky, chugging house, sounding much like DJ Sneak stuff from the mid nineties. Also, lighter, tribal beats and ethnic samples.

Looking back over past years, what’s the best track prediction you’ve made?

We’ve made a few actually so I wouldn’t like to pin point just one. If you look on the web at the track listings of some of the old albums, it’s pretty impressive.

And what track made it huge that you wish you’d backed?

Spiller – Groove Jet. Spiller was a friend if mine, and I’d released his first ever record under the name ‘Laguna’. He played me ‘Groove Jet’ a couple of times, but I said I had loads of disco sample stuff to release so I couldn’t put it in… Doh!

More record labels are rearing their heads to present their own Miami albums with their track predications for the conference. Do you think any of them are any good, and how do you ensure that Azuli’s album stands out in the crowd?

I can’t comment on others, but we have a great track record, and I think that’s because people know that with Azuli, they are going to get a certain quality.

The WMC has changed massively since Azuli’s first Miami album 10 years ago, from its size to the cost of actually being there. Do you think all the changes have been positive ones?

It’s bigger and more diverse, which is positive. The negative is the over commercialisation of it. Everyone needs to make money, but in Miami the clubs, promoters and DJs all want top dollar, so getting into clubs and buying drinks etc., is super expensive.
How do you predict it’ll change next?

It will move to Poland ?

Is the WMC still an important event in the industry calendar, and if so, who do you think benefits most from it?

To be honest, I think people in the industry themselves are helped by it happening. It’s like Miami comes and says: “okay kids, winter’s over, time to get a smile on your face”…
In what ways does it compare, if it all, to European music conferences like the Amsterdam Dance event and the more newly formed, International Music Summit?

Miami is a rave in the sun, a compact Ibiza in the spring. Amsterdam is a bit more business orientated and there is more to smoke.

Another congratulations is in order as 2010 marks 20 years since Azuli’s first release! Knowing what you know now about the industry, what advice would have given to yourself 20 years ago?

Get a proper job…!

You’ve ran many Azuli parties on South Beach during the WMC. Which individual party sticks in your mind and why?

I played at an after hours for Nervous Records, which was in the fast food joint ‘Dennys’. A fucked up clubber came up to me while I was playing to order a hamburger. (He was serious)

Where will you be hanging out at Miami this year?

I always love the Lazy Dog parties or Giant Step. Other than that, I’ll be following those roller skate girls on my bike.

Will you be playing at all? Tell us where and when.

I’ve taken a bit of a break from playing. I’m just going to be checking others out!

Any big celebration party in the pipeline to celebrate Azuli’s 20 years? We think you should!

It’s in the pipeline! Keep an eye on the website for announcements.

Azuli presents Miami 2010 is released 8th March. For more details / to buy visit http://j.mp/Azuli